In February 2015 we will have a tasting room in Avila Beach one block from the Ocean.
Our journey began almost 23 years ago, when we met at college in San Luis Obispo and started working at local wineries. The wine bug bit us hard, and the Pinot Noir bug bit us even harder. We were young and a little crazy. The Central Coast still had to prove itself, and so did we. Game on.
We kept at it, grinding out one harvest after another, consuming the craft of winemaking, and studying the art of Pinot Noir. We got married in Burgundy. We had two beautiful children. Experience led to opportunity, and opportunity led to more experience, and both led to fanaticism. And from fanaticism our little winery was born.
Sharing what we do is why we do it. We hope you enjoy our wines.
Mike Sinor is recognized as one of the Central Coast's highest-rated winemakers. Wines made by Mike have scored 96 points in the WineSpectator™, 95 points in Connoiseur's Guide™, 92 points in Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate™ and 95 points in Wine Enthusiast™. In 2012 Mike was voted as Winemaker of the Year for San Luis Obispo County.
The word that best describes Mike is "Fanatical." He is a self-made winemaker with no formal winemaking education who worked his way up from "cellar rat" through grit, determination and sheer love of wine.
Raised in Visalia, CA, Mike attended California Polythechnic State University at San Luis Obispo with the objective of becoming a high school shop teacher. He financed his college education by working at several local wineries -- an experience that ignited his passion for the craft of making wine. Mike met his future wife, Cheri LaVallee, in a chemistry class at CalPoly (now that's Chemistry 101).
Mike has traveled to France on numerous occasions, delving into the winemaking experiences of Burgunday, Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley. He also took a winemaking sabbatical to Australia's Margaret River in 2001. These travels are integral to his winemaking fabric and outlook.
• Winemaker and proprietor of Sinor-LaVallee Wine Company
• Director of Winemaking at Ancient Peaks in Paso Robles
• Consulting Winemaker for Center of Effort in the Edna Valley
• President of San Luis Obispo Vintners Association
• Winemaker at Domaine Alfred Winery (now Chamisal) in Edna Valley (2000 to 2006)
• Assistant Winemaker at Byron Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley (1994 to 2000)
• Cellar gigs with numerous Central Coast wineries (1991 to 1994)
• Board of Directors of the World of Pinor Noir event held in Pismo Beach each year
CYRIL CHAPPELLET - CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, CHAPPELLET VINEYARD
For nearly five decades, the Chappellet family has been crafting world-class wines from fruit cultivated on the steep, rocky slopes of Napa Valley’s renowned Pritchard Hill. As one of the first wineries to pioneer high-elevation hillside planting, and one of the few remaining great family-owned Napa Valley wineries, Chappellet Vineyard has influenced generations of vintners. Throughout its history, Chappellet has also established an enduring legacy as one of California’s most acclaimed producers of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Chappellets’ romance with Pritchard Hill began when Donn and Molly Chappellet first glimpsed the mountain’s spectacular vistas in the late 1960s. Inspired by the notion that Bacchus loves the hills, Donn and Molly followed the advice of legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff and settled on the rocky eastern slopes of the Napa Valley. There, on the mountain’s serene and picturesque hillsides, the Chappellets established their home and winery, raising their children and cultivating the vineyards.
Since being founded by Donn and Molly in 1967, Chappellet has earned acclaim championing the robust power and complexity of wines crafted from mountain grapes. At the same time, Chappellet has helped to establish Pritchard Hill as one of California’s most revered winegrowing sites. To honor the mountain’s rich, expressive character, the winemaking team focuses on creating extraordinary, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignons that embody the intensity and finesse of fruit from Pritchard Hill.
Today, a second generation of the Chappellet family has embraced their parents’ love of the mountain’s inviting spirit and exceptional vineyards. Led by Cyril and Carissa Chappellet, who oversee the day-to-day operations of the winery, this new generation also includes Jon-Mark, Dominic, Lygia and Alexa Chappellet, who are active board members dedicated to building upon Chappellet’s reputation for excellence. Equally important, this second generation is passionate about preserving the land by continuing Donn and Molly’s intimate approach to winegrowing. In order to ensure the health and wellbeing of Pritchard Hill for generations to come, the Chappellet family meticulously cultivates their estate vineyards using hands-on sustainable and organic farming techniques, with a constant eye towards quality.
In addition to the dedicated second generation of the family, which has joined Donn and Molly in contributing to the ongoing success of Chappellet, the winery benefits from a talented team, which includes gifted winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus and vineyard manager Dave Pirio—each of whom possesses decades of experience working at Chappellet. Applying their wealth of knowledge, and their comprehensive understanding of the estate’s 34 distinctive vineyard blocks, the Chappellet team handcrafts extraordinary wines that showcase the authentic charm and personality of Pritchard Hill.
Though focused on crafting limited quantities of benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon for almost 50 years, the Chappellet portfolio also includes exceptional Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. While consistently setting the standard for mountain-grown wines, Chappellet has earned high praise from critics and a devoted following from many of the world’s premier collectors.
Cyril Chappellet - Chairman of the Board
Moving to Pritchard Hill when he was 10 years old, Cyril Chappellet has witnessed the
transformation of the Napa Valley into one of the world’s great winegrowing regions. The eldest son of Molly and Donn Chappellet, Cyril grew up working in the vineyard and winery. At 18, Donn and Molly encouraged Cyril to make his own career choices and to explore life away from the family business.
After studying farm management at Cal Poly and completing his business education at
Pepperdine University, Cyril began a career in corporate planning and acquisitions. In 1988, after nearly a decade of honing his business skills, Cyril returned to Pritchard Hill to join the Chappellet team. “The finest wineries around the world reflect a commitment that goes beyond one generation,” says Cyril. “At Chappellet, this ongoing commitment is key to our continued ability to make extraordinary wines. It has also elevated Pritchard Hill as one of the world’s finest locations for producing ultra-premium wine.”
Prior to being named chairman of the board, Cyril spent many years as the winery’s managing director. In this role, he was instrumental in guiding the day-to-day workings of the winery, overseeing sales and marketing efforts and working with his parents and siblings to ensure the ongoing vitality of the business. During his tenure as managing director, Chappellet was recognized for making some of the finest wines in its storied history, and Pritchard Hill catapulted to center stage as California’s premier location for mountain-grown Bordeaux varietals, most notably, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cyril was elected chairman of the winery’s family-run board of directors in 2012, becoming the only person other than his father, Donn, to hold this position in the history of Chappellet Vineyard. Today, Cyril is actively involved in every aspect of the winery’s operations and works closely with his family to ensure the continued success of Chappellet.
Cyril’s intimate connection with Pritchard Hill, where he lives with his wife Blakesley and their quarter horses, Dragon, Patron and Rico, often finds him lending a skilled hand wherever needed. Whether building a horse corral, driving a forklift in the winery, or barbecuing for guests, Cyril enjoys being hands-on. “Doing whatever it takes is the nature of a family business,” says Cyril. “It is also part of the charm.”
In addition to the many hats he wears at Chappellet, Cyril has been a board member of the Napa Valley Vintners Association, of which Chappellet was the 18th registered member. (There are 425 members today.) He is also actively involved with the Wine Service Co-Op that Chappellet helped to found in 1972. Cyril also served as chair of the 2012 Auction Napa Valley, which raised $8.2 million for local charities. When not working on behalf of Chappellet or the Napa Valley wine industry, Cyril is an avid horseman, and a member of the Charlie Russell Riders andLos Rancheros Visitadores.